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tv   This Week in Northern California  PBS  September 21, 2012 7:30pm-8:00pm PDT

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. >> proposition 32 banned employee paycheck deductions for political purposes. >> after just two years on the job, police chief called it quits amid a political fire storm over rising crime and pension reform. p fwmpb & e facing competition in san francisco as a new public power plan gets the green light. opponents cry foul saying the rest of the bay area is being left out of a critical decision on the future coming up next.
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>> good evening. welcome to this week in northern california. joining me tonight are robert, crime and public safety reporter for the san hoe say mercury news. tom, consumer et tore. and paul rogers, environmental writer. .
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>> all about campaign financing where there any surprises today? >> i think some surprises for some. let's set the stage and make sure people understand what this measure is. it's complicated and not complicated. would ban candidate contributions to candidates for the legislature and statewide races. the field pole that is out shows ornd 48% support. that's a very low number that is way under the 50% threshold. i think some people thought it was going be higher than that based on earlier polling but the real question here is how this
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campaign moves forward. that's the only way that they spend money in politics. they have put up in excess on the campaign so far. pretty sure they're going to put in more. you're seeing the ads hit the air waves. it will be expensive and ugly. >> did the ads seem a little confusing. the ads talk about all of these people and corporations and so forth giving money and on the other hand, present a different argument. i find it confusing. >> you know, i think there is a lot of spin here. we should talk about that yes on prop 32 as it is now airing.
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one of the so-called super pacs that have come out of california with an organization that news reports have shone had ties to the brothers. ultraconservative business men. they put $4 million into that ad. it takes about $4 million for a statewide television buy for one week. they put that ad on the air. we don't know who the donors are. we don't know who they are if they spend more than that. that yes ad right talks all about how bad money is in politics. prop 32 won't take all the money out in politics. it will just rerout how the money is spent. >> what's interesting is how -- you mention the coat brothers
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who control georgia pacific. they would be able to get their way more. the unions and democratic side wouldn't. i understand several other states have done this already where people had not had to donate money. >> there is a little bit of fear out there. these initiatives on the ballot that are all about unions. there are other avenues that some people would say maybe unions could call the money. it would be a lot harder work.
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>> inside the unions themselve., >> you may not support a candidate and there you are supporting a candidate that you might not want to actually vote for. >> from what i can tell, the union leadership is resolute. they see the status quo. i think if you had a rank and file undercurrent. can you have the california teacher's association. the single largest this is a really fascinating fight for me
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because the public sees this or will the public see it. or it's a trojan horse strategy. the unions lead you to believe. >> what about the money. is there a balance in the amount of money? we talked about the money. >> we have to be careful not from the coke brothers themselves. we don't really know. the do nors are see kretive. that's only a $4 million buy.
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more 501 c-4s, the secret super pacs can come in and spend more. essentially the state campaign finance rule say that it does not have to disclose if it only comes in once and spends money one time. nothing stops them from each coming in and each giving $4 million one week after the other. that would keep the television ads on the air. that is what the unions fare and why they have put $38 million on n the bank. >> that's why campaign finance initiatives have a difficult time. >> indeed. >> okay. well, san hoe say is a city having a difficult time right now. having a difficult time having just lost its police chief.
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some of the others that we hear from urban centers. explain to me what happened and why it's a surprise. >> well the situation has not changed much. the san hoe say plid is in a state of turmoil in the sense that it has a demor alized police force. that has not changed. what happened, i think, the chief felt boxed in. police officers association he tried. a little bit more money and get a few more cuts on the street. they passed on that.
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didn't feel they were advocating him as much as he could have. so he decided to step down and let somebody else take it. >> are we going to continue to see more and more cuts. are we going to see more and more cuts or will we bounce along the bottom. >> they end up taking the spotlight when we talked about the pension reforms.
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they tend to be the most expensive public employees. because the voters of san hoe say passed a measure b waiting to see if the city can pull this off and still have a viable police force before proceeding. that's particularly why san hoe say is at the forefront of the effort. >> het gets $155 pension for the rest of his life. he gets cashed out in sick time. >> right. >> it's -- it would be fair to say there is a window closing on that.
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three of the cities public unions already have a sunset on that ability to cash out that sick time. beyond police officers, you could expect a similar exodus of city workers in san hoe say next june. >> we had a recent streak of eight homicides in 11 days. that was in mid august. some of that could be attributed to gang violence. some of it was a little bit more random. i think generally people agree the rez tents agree.
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can be and should be in the city. a lot of those are retirements. >> cough been other neighboring cities. the same crises. >> the pension battle, what kind of leadership are we get iting. >> the police union would tell you that they're not getting a lot of leadership.
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have suffered because of this. so far the political leverage is tough for the. >> the problems are there and similar to what we're hearing. some people want to see
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change. >> the important thing here is how we actually get power and pay for power and do all of that stuff. there has been an interesting thing going on. the city has voted that they are going set up alternative power and the way they will set up alternative power -- not to interrupt. >> this is about public power. this is a question about what you could do. compete with pg & e's operation. what's going on is pg & e has been successful at fending off the fights. let's give people a choice. let's give an opportunity to buy completely clean renewable power.
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you will be paying for hydro power and wind power. so basically what's going to happen is out of the 380,000 households. so guess what, we just signed you up for this. if a private company were to walk in, they wouldn't allow that. to get their rethey have hired a private company, shell energy to manage this for them. at this point in time the question is somewhere mid 2013. when and how are you going to put this into place and that's
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what they're working on right now. we going to start seeing some stuff. >> two quick questions. when people think shell they think oil companies. where is shell going to get all of its green power from to deliver to people in san francisco? and as you mention, pg & e hates competition. do you think that once san francisco takes the plunge and competes, that other cities around the state will follow suit. why don't you just say this is what you ear going to have to do and we will compete. >> nobody will sign up. >> there will not be a lot of people as much as they might talk about it.
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shell energy is just one of many divisions. more than happy to sell you power. they will procure the pow sper deliver it to the city. the irony is it is a great irony. there is no guarantee you will ever get one electron. the price is going to be different. the reality is you won't necessarily be getting it. >> bottom line to all of this, the board of super visors have passed it. this in dekads of fight iing. >> where does that leave san francisco? where do the citizens that they have to have to make this work
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do? >> if they don't get 90,000 customers they can't break even and they have a reserf for losses plus they signed a $20 million contract. if they get 90,000 or more then they can make a go of it. after all of our talk about green energy and renewable energy, are there 90,000 families that will be able to make our break this? we will see what happens. we will have a very good idea and that will tell the tale as to who will follow. >> here is another issue that and i introduced it.
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>> speaking of long term battles, this is the longest running environmental battle. measure f will also rise an $8 million study that the city would pay for. the city's largest rez vary. it is a valley in yosemite national park. there are beautiful paintings. photographs and basically after the 1906 earthquake when san francisco burned, the city wanted a more reliable water supply. and the sere rah club fought it
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bitterly. so the cr club and other groubs have wanted to drain this rez choir. i think it's going to be close. what it would do is do the study. they say california's water supply is too prekars. >> and there is also the amount of money invest ed that involve improvement to hedging.
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>> that's actually a really good point. >> only a third of the customers live in the city of san francisco. approved four or five billion dollars in bond. that work is probably two thirds to three quarters finish now. they're building a new dam. are there is a lot of hardening of the water system. >> how could you possibly
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replace all of that water? >> that's the question. the people for this say you could. they say you could put it in other reservoirs near by. they say you can. the other side says no you can't. there will be a lot of democrats out and environmentalists voting for obama. i think if it passes you will see acts in washington and sacramento to block any draining without a vote. people will make the argument your water bills are going to go up and you should have a vote. >> okay. long term fights. but this morning a site never before seen in the bay area.
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>> farewell flights. thousands of people. some of the most spectacular examples in american ingenuity. you will never see that again. in the 30 years of the space shuttle program was the one and only day that the space shuttle would ever fly over the bay area and it was heading back to the final it did all sorts of really cool things.
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it was a grand farewell this amazing object which was built with a lot of ingenuity. it's an amazing piece of equipment. >> absolutely. >> that's all the time that we have tonight. thank you, paul. >> we hope that you will visit our web site. that's where you can watch complete episodes, subscribe to our news letter and pod cast and share your thoughts about the program and our stories. next week we will have a broadcast of heat and harvest. a look at how climate change is altering california's climate culture. good night and thank you for watching.
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